Joe Biden's Green Dreams Mean Greater Dependence on China
President-elect Joe Biden has finally unveiled a slate of nominations and selections for his administration’s climate team. And, as many expected, he assembled a team that signals the pursuit of the radical energy agenda that we feared.
Biden has long tried to build a reputation as a moderate Democrat. This is an image that he often struggled to maintain on the campaign trail in simultaneous pursuit of the “Bernie bro’s” vote. But, who one surrounds themselves with says a lot about a person. The cabinet and administrative selections speak for themselves: Biden is a proud member of the eco-left. As such, we can expect a lot of radical ideas and proposals to become mandates – that includes the manufacturing and use of electric vehicles (EVs).
In September, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order banning all new gasoline-fueled vehicles by 2035. This mandate is an attempt to force California’s residents into using EVs and, according to Governor Newsom, “(is) the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change.” This mandate is also a massive government overreach that, according to the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, “will require increased infrastructure, incentives, fleet requirements, building codes, and much more."
California businesses aren’t happy with the mandate, either. The state’s Business Roundtable President Rob Lapsley called it a “radical step” that “makes no sense.” He went on to call it a rushed decision that provides no guarantee of affordability for many who live in a state that’s already expensive. If Biden decides to implement such a mandate, these issues and concerns will only be amplified to the national level.
Right now, EVs account for less than 10 percent of new vehicle sales in California – and that’s the best in the nation. So, even if people are given significant incentives to buy electric, or, if Biden takes the Newsom route and forces people into the transition, there will still need to be a massive increase in manufacturing.
Earlier this month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk detailed some of the requirements that a full transition to EVs will demand. He said that electricity consumption will double if the world’s car fleets are electrified. As a result, this will substantially increase the need to expand nuclear, solar, geothermal, and wind energy generating sources. Then, even if all of these demands are met and EVs become the norm, this energy will need to be stored through battery packs.
If we prematurely make this switch to green technology – from the creation of solar panels to batteries – we will be forced to rely on China for manufacturing. Power The Future conducted a study earlier this year detailing the economic and geopolitical dangers of that reliance.
EVs, whether we like to admit it or not, are predominately made in China. Furthermore, the rare earth elements required for their functionality is a market dominated by China. Even if Biden were able to encourage America automakers to rethink their production lines, China still controls the parts.
China does lead the world in EVs but this is not some achievement. In a New York Times op-ed last year John Kerry, former secretary of state and future “global climate envoy” lauded China for this and encouraged America to do more. Kerry and other myopic climate activists always neglect to tell the whole picture. Why does China lead in EVs? Eco-conscious wokeness? Global climate commitment?
No. China has very little oil. The communist nation needs to import more than 11 million barrels a day. If you are the bookkeeper or strategic planner of the centrally planned communist nation, wouldn’t you get off foreign oil? It’s a tremendous vulnerability. They chose an alternative, a red alternative, and painted it green. And the John Kerry’s of the world pen op-eds in support.
Even more foolhardy, he supports a reversal of our energy independence with a reliance of China. Xi Jinping himself could not have chosen a better diplomat to do his bidding.
In addition to handing our greatest adversary a massive amount of business, we would also be handing China the opportunity to flood the market with cheap green tech and then strategically ration or regulate the products once they’ve established dependency. We already know that China can’t be trusted – look at their threats of withholding personal protection equipment at the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown- this is a risk that we can’t afford to take.
In President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union address, he stated that we should have one million EVs in the U.S. by 2015. This goal was set to reduce emissions and our dependence on foreign oil. Under President Trump, America achieved energy independence for the first time in history and emissions were the lowest they had been since 1992.
The recipe for this success is simple – use our own abundant natural resources and encourage the natural gas and oil industry, not regulate or ban it entirely. Biden often likes to associate himself with President Obama, and he was at Obama’s side when the 2011 State of the Union address was delivered. If he truly believes in the goals that his former administration set, he will realize that President Trump’s method achieved them, and that his radical cabinet’s methods will only lead to dependence on our greatest enemy.
Daniel Turner is the founder and executive director of Power The Future, a national nonprofit organization that advocates for American energy jobs. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @DanielTurnerPTF.